Little Grand Canyon Trail

  

Little Grand Canyon

Little Grand Canyon is especially beautiful during April and October when spring wildflowers and fall colors are at their peak. The entire trail is 3 miles trail but shorter segments can be taken that lead to scenic overlooks. The upper trail has interpretive signs. In the canyon the trail winds along the base of 300-foot bluffs and through a bottomland forest before leading out of the canyon through a rocky creekbed.

Difficulty rating of the trail is moderate to difficult, due to length, degree of slope and difficulty of terrain. Hikers should be aware that the trail segment in and out of the canyon is byway of a steep, wet rocky creekbed. 

Be aware Little Grand Canyon Trail is a remote area where you could face inherent risks of adverse weather conditions, isolation, physical hazards, and lack of rapid communications. Search and rescue may not be as rapid as expected. 

Be prepared and Know Before You Go. Also check out our Forest Emergency & Safety Brochure.

Little Grand Canyon brochure/map

At a Glance

Operational Hours:

Open year-round. Daily from 6 a.m.-10:00 p.m.

Area Amenities: Interpretive Site,Picnic tables,Toilets,Parking
Restrictions:
  • Hiker-only Trail. No motorized use or equestrians allowed.
  • Designated natural area is marked on the ground with yellow flexible posts. 
  • No overnight camping, campfires, rock climbing or rappelling or off-road vehicle use.
  • Stay on designated trail and do not collect plants, rocks or damage natural features.
Closest Towns: Murphysboro, IL 62966
Restroom: Vault Toilet
Information Center: Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District (618) 833-8576

General Information

Directions:

From Murphysboro: Take Highway 127 south 6 miles to Etherton Rd.; then west 2.5 miles, to Poplar Ridge Rd. Take Poplar Ridge Rd. 1 mile to Hickory Ridge Rd. Continue straight through the 4-way stop onto Hickory Ridge Rd. and go 2.3 miles to Little Grand Canyon entrance road. Turn right onto entrance road. Proceed to trailhead parking lot.

From Jonesboro: Take Highway 146 west 2.5 miles, then take Highway 127 north 16.3 miles to Etherton Road; then west 2.5 miles, to Poplar Ridge Rd. Take Poplar Ridge Rd. 1 mile to Hickory Ridge Rd. Continue straight through the 4-way stop onto Hickory Ridge Rd. and go 2.3 miles to Little Grand Canyon entrance road. Turn right onto entrance road. Proceed to trailhead parking lot.


General Notes:

Trail Marking: White diamond

The trail contains only a few directional signs. During the autumn season and after periods of flooding the canyon portion of the trail can be difficult to follow. 

Safety: Flash floods can occur in the canyon, be aware of developing weather conditions. Extra caution should be used when the trail is near the bluffs or when traveling on wet, slippery rocks. Be aware of hunters during hunting seasons. Poison ivy, dead snags and venomous snakes are present in the canyon.

Natural Communities: Known for its plant and animal diversity, this area is also a haven for many neotropical migratory songbirds during the spring and fall. Year-round residents include raccoon, mink, fox, deer and bobcat along with several birds, amphibians and reptiles. From the scenic overlooks, turkey vultures and hawks are often seen soaring over the treetops.

In 1980 Little Grand Canyon was designated a National Natural Landmark due to its unique ecological and geological features. The area contains several distinct natural communities, including upland forest, dry hill prairies and sandstone outcroppings, plus the floodplain ecosystem in the canyon.


Parking:

Parking is limited and fills up in April during spring season. The trailhead at the upper parking lot leads to the main overlook. The trailhead from the lower parking lot leads more quickly to the Canyon. No buses.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities


Hiking

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Day Hiking


Nature Viewing

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Outdoor Learning

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Picnicking

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Amenities

Picnic tables with grills
Interpretive Site interpretive signs
Toilets vault toilet is accessible
Parking cars-no buses
Areas & Activities

Featured Events

Location

 
  Latitude : 
37.68028

  Longitude : 
-89.39472